This is John Galt speaking. I am the man who loves his life. I am the man who does not sacrifice his love or his values. I am the man who has deprived you of victims and thus has destroyed your world, and if you wish to know why you are perishing—you who dread knowledge—I am the man who will now tell you.
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Galt has led a strike to protest that doctrine and to remove the men of justice, independence, reason, wealth, and self-esteem -- the men of the mind. The crisis demands the discovery of a proper morality.
The standard and purpose of morality "You have heard no concepts of morality but the mystical or the social. Because thinking is volitional, man needs a conscious code of values. For any living organism, its life is its fundamental value, since existence or non-existence is its fundamental alternative. To maintain its life, any organism must act in accordance with its means of survival. For man, this means living by the exercise of his mind. Your own life -- and happiness as its emotional concomitant -- is the purpose of morality.
You can choose not to live, you can choose not to think, but you cannot avoid the consequences of such choices -- except by trying to make others pay for your default. The nature of reason "We, the men of the mind, are now on strike against you The individual must initiate and direct his own capacity for reason and act on the basis of his own rational judgment. A rational process is thus a moral process.
Our free will consists in the choice to think or not to think. Thinking is the basic moral virtue; evasion is the basic vice. The content of a rational moral code "My morality, the morality of reason Reason, purpose, and self-esteem are cardinal values. These values imply and require the virtues of rationality, independence, integrity, honesty, justice, productiveness, and pride. But virtue is not its own reward.
Life is the reward of virtue, and happiness is the goal and the reward of life. Pleasure and pain, joy and suffering, are the emotional forms in which we experience values. But emotions are governed by what we choose to value.
True happiness is a state of non-contradictory joy, and is thus possible only to those who pursue rational values. There are no conflicts of interest among rational men. The proper means of interaction with others is trade. The initiation of physical force is evil; force and mind are opposites.
Force may be used only in retaliation and only against those who start its use. The Morality of Death "In the name of all the producers who had kept you alive The producers are motivated by positive values -- life, happiness, achievement.
Their exploiters are motivated by negatives -- death, misery, destruction. Opposed to the Morality of Life is the Morality of Death, which demands that man atone for the guilt of being human by sacrificing his mind, values, and happiness. That which is outside the possibility of choice is outside the province of morality. In holding that man is innately evil, the Doctrine of Original Sin negates morality, nature, justice, and reason.
The doctrine says that man is evil because he possesses reason, knowledge, morality, productiveness, creativity, the capacity for sexual pleasure, and the capacity for joy -- all the cardinal values of his existence.
The dichotomy presupposes the negation of reason, leaving man to choose between guidance by physical instincts or by mystic emotions. The mystics of spirit substitute revelation for reason; they demand that the individual surrender his mind and self-interest to the will of God.
The mystics of muscle substitute reflexes for reason; they demand that the individual surrender his mind and self-interest to the will of Society. Both varieties of mystics preach the same moral doctrine: self-sacrifice. The Doctrine of Sacrifice "Whoever is now within reach of my voice The code is impossible to practice because it would lead to death, and thus moral perfection is impossible to man.
The Doctrine of Sacrifice cannot provide man with an interest in being good. Since man is in fact an indivisible unity of matter and consciousness, the sacrifice of "merely" material values necessarily means the sacrifice of spiritual ones. In attacking selfishness, the Doctrine of Sacrifice seeks to make you surrender your mind. The Doctrine of Sacrifice commands that you act for the good of others but provides no standard of the good.
And it requires only that you intend to benefit others, not that you succeed. The Doctrine of Sacrifice makes you the servant and others your masters --and adds insult to injury by saying you should find happiness through sacrifice.
Sacrifice and the unearned "You who have no standard of self-esteem Because they did not earn them. At its core, the Doctrine of Sacrifice is a doctrine that seeks the unearned. Lack of value gives one a claim upon those who possess value. The doctrine elevates failure, weakness, need, incompetence, suffering, vice, and irrationality and regards them as moral claims on success, strength, wealth, ability, joy, virtue, and rationality.
On this inversion of values, one sacrifices morality and self-esteem, and becomes both victim and parasite, with no standard of how much sacrifice is enough. In the spiritual realm, the Doctrine of the Unearned commands unconditional love, love based on need rather than value, love for those who do not deserve it -- because they do not deserve it.
Mysticism as the basis for the unearned "The mystics of both schools, who preach the creed of sacrifice They claim to perceive a reality exempt from the law of identity, in order to make their wishes -- their whims -- absolutes.
There is no honest revolt against reason. The mystics seek to evade the law of causality -- which is the law of identity applied to action -- in order to gain values without effort and justify their demand for unearned love, admiration, wealth. Since there is no actual escape from identity and causality, from the need to think and produce in order to create values, the producers are expected to pay for the default of the irrational.
The modern mystics of muscle "Just as your mystics of spirit invented their heaven Axioms are statements that identify the bases of knowledge. These bases include or imply that things exist and are what they are, that they act according to their natures, that facts are absolute, that sense-perception is valid.
While the mystics of spirit claim that faith is superior to reason, the mystics of muscle claim that reason is merely faith, and substitute collective opinion for objective knowledge. They even deny the existence of the mind.
Their motive is to reverse cause and effect, to demand goods without producing them, to control the producers and to redistribute their wealth. The psychology of the mystics "Did you wonder what is wrong with the world? Having surrendered their own judgment to avoid clashes with others, they regard the judgments of others as a power superior to reason, believing that others have a mysterious link with reality. To control reality, they must therefore control others, seeking obedience at all costs.
Their goal is to control the consciousness of others as a means of getting control over reality. Poverty, suffering, destruction, and death are the consequences of their moral code -- and the real motive of the code. Mystics have defaulted on the responsibility to think, act, and produce; they feel envious hatred toward, and wish to destroy, those who have not defaulted.
Return to Reason and Freedom The Sanction of the Victim Withdrawn "We, who were the living buffers between you and the nature of your creed Since evil is irrational, it can succeed only with the consent and aid of the rational.
The Morality of Death is perpetuated by the sanction of its victims -- the men of reason and ability. The strike is the withdrawal of that sanction. The Morality of Death counts on the producers to think and produce, while denying them the honor they deserve or the freedom they require. Its strategy is to induce moral guilt in the men of reason and ability.
The strikers refuse to accept guilt for their ability. Galt is doing by conscious design what men of ability had done throughout the ages: withdrawing their talents from the world. He is teaching the producers their own value. Without the victims whom Galt has withdrawn, the Morality of Death and those who embrace it will collapse of their own irrationality.
Altruism creates a clash between the moral and the practical by setting the standards of morality in opposition to the requirements of living.
It thus deprives you of practical guidance, moral certainty, and the capacity for happiness, dignity, and self-esteem. There are moral absolutes, and moral judgment is a necessity. In any compromise between good and evil, it is only evil that can profit.
When men reduce their virtues to the approximate, then evil acquires the force of an absolute. It is absurd to believe, as political conservatives do, that collectivism is based on reason and science while freedom, production, and trade must be accepted on faith. This absurdity is a rationalization to avoid questioning the moral code of self-sacrifice.
People refuse to question that code because their self-esteem is tied to it. As a being with free will, man, by nature, needs self-esteem and moral self-approval; but men have tied their self-esteem to a morality that undercuts it. Their fear and guilt spring from the awareness of having willfully abandoned reason and having refused to think for themselves.
The myths of paradise reflect the spirit of childhood: the joyous, fearless, independence of a rational consciousness facing an open universe. It is not too late to begin again: Accept the fact that your mind works by choice, not automatically, and that your life depends on choosing to think.
Learn to trust your mind and to act by your own independent reason, not on the basis of authority. Seek moral perfection in the unbreached exercise of rationality. Learn to distinguish errors of knowledge from moral evil. Choose happiness as your moral purpose and give it your full commitment. Learn to value yourself by rejecting humility as a virtue and seeking pride. Give help to others when deserved, but not on the basis of need alone, or when demanded as a right.
In betraying these requirements of life and happiness, you have sacrificed your virtues to your vices within your soul. In society, you have sacrificed the best men to the worst.
John Galt’s Speech from Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged”
John Galt Quotes